Broadway stars and “Broadway Close Up” series audience favorites Rebecca Luker and Sally Wilfert talk about their two-woman show “All the Girls” – coming to Merkin Hall on September 23! – and reveal what it’s like to create a show with your best friend!
What inspired you to create “All the Girls”?
Sally: In the fall of 2017 I was asked by the wonderful Jennifer Tepper, the then Programming Director at 54Below, to be a part of their 2018 Duo Concert Series. The first and only person that came to mind for me was Rebecca and so I asked her…she said “yes.” I mean, I’m the luckiest gal in the world to have Rebecca as my best friend…but we also absolutely love singing together! We started brainstorming about the show almost immediately and we didn’t have to dig very far. We are both truly inspired by the women in our lives and in the world. We started researching material, both separately and together, looking for songs that expressed the themes of women today. Becca found the song “Be Careful” by Patti Griffin in which the lyric “All the Girls” begins the song. In an instant we knew what our title was….it kind of picked us….and all the other music grew from there.
Rebecca: Sally asked me if I was interested in joining her, and I think it took me a fraction of a nanosecond to say YES! I love singing with Sally. Not only is she my best friend, she’s a remarkable actress, musician, singer, and just all-around great performer. Sally’s also whip smart. I knew this would be a wonderful experience, and I was right. We started talking about what we might want to say with our show, and separately and together, started doing research. We’d call or text one another out of the blue with song titles. I found the song “Be Careful” by Patti Griffin and the phrase “All the Girls” starts the song. We both fell in love with this song, which we felt summarized what our message was. The song lifts women up, and at the same time deals with all the trials we endure in our lives. So that became our title, and it just grew from there.
What is it like to create a show with a good friend?
Rebecca: For me, it’s just a dream. Sometimes we feel like we’re the same person! Of course, we’re not. We’re very different from one another. But we often can’t tell who’s on which harmony when listening to rehearsal tapes. It’s eerie and a little frustrating too, lol. Sally brings so much to the table; I feel phenomenally lucky to be collaborating with her. And when we sing together it’s heaven. I lose myself in the music. It’s pure joy.
Sally: Creating this show with Becca has been one of the most joyful, creative, emotional and artistic moments in my life. I think with anyone else this could have been disastrous and threatened to end a friendship. But simply put: it is a DREAM. True Collaboration. We speak the same musical language. Filled with endless imagination, loads of laughter, tons of tears and…..lots of really good food. Cuz I mean, when we create things together for hours on end, we of course cook and try new recipes together! Seriously though, it has brought us closer and made our friendship stronger. We are so similar in our approach to a song, yet both bring our own individual twists as well. So when we sing together it is like we are the same person! It is hard to tell who is on top and who is on bottom. We had a blast writing those vocal arrangements and weaving in and out of each other at any given moment. Only enhanced by our incredible Musical Director and Guru Joseph Thalken’s arrangements. We are so stinkin’ lucky to have him as our partner in crime.
Are there songs in the show that are especially meaningful or inspiring to you personally?
Sally: All of the song selections in our show have been carefully chosen and investigated by us so they all feel super meaningful. It’s like each one is our very special child, so it’s hard to pick a favorite. They all feel supremely personal to me. But I think what feels the most inspiring is singing in unison or harmony with Becca. Her voice PIERCES my heart like no other. So to sing WITH her transports me to another place….a whole other universe…one I never want to leave. I cannot wait for the Merkin Hall audience to experience “All The Girls.” It’s gonna be an evening not to be missed!
Rebecca: Other than the title song, I’d say that EVERY song in the show inspires us. We chose them carefully. We do two sort of amazing medleys that we’re very proud of. Our Musical Director and accompanist and resident genius Joseph Thalken had a lot to do with arranging them, and indeed the entire show. He has such good taste and judgement about everything. We’re beyond lucky that he could do this with us. I guess I don’t want to give away any song titles. You’ll just have to be at Merkin Hall at 7:30 pm on September 23rd to find out what they are!